It started with a request for a few helping hands to help build a ramp to Andrew Debogorski’s home, and ended up with a sale of everything from doors to lighting to a $5 toilet.

The Debogorski family was on hand at the Kasteel Construction garage sale Saturday, from left Amelia Debogorski, Shielo Debogorski, Bailey Barker, Clayton Barker and Dominic Debogorski. Shielo says the whole family is involved in caring for Andrew, who is in need of care throughout the day due to his diagnosis of ALS.
Emelie Peacock/NNSL photo

When the sale opened at 9 a.m., on Sunday at Kasteel Construction in Kam Lake, owner Trevor Kasteel said there was a mad rush of shoppers who nearly emptied the seacan container full of construction supplies.

“It’s crazy, it was like an army coming. I had to put up traffic cones in the parking lot,” Kasteel said. “It’s the right thing to do and people are wonderful here.”

The community support resulted in just over $5,000 donated to the Debogorski family to help with Andrew Debogorski’s needs as he fights Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS). Debogorski is a long-time Yellowknifer and hip-hop artist who goes by the stage name Bouge. Diagnosed with ALS June 8, he has experienced symptoms including muscle degradation, difficulty speaking and emotional changes, which his sibling Julaine Debogorski said are worsening.

He is now waiting to become part of a clinical stem cell trial in the United States. The family has been holding fundraising initiatives online and out in the community to cover Debogorski’s daily needs and costs involved in the clinical trial. The garage sale is the latest show of support for the Debogorski family.

Kasteel said he had originally volunteered to help build the ramp to Debogorski’s home, organized by his colleague Jeremy Ouillette. When he realized he had to hold a sale the same day the ramp was being installed, he decided to give the proceeds to Andrew and his family because he couldn’t be there to help with the installation.

“It’s what you should do,” Kasteel said. “I could have $2,000 or $5,000 or something like that and put it in my pocket or put it against my Visa like anybody. But you know, really, when it comes down to it if I had ALS or someone in my family had ALS, how would I feel?” he said. “To take a moment and put myself in his shoes, it’s a pretty easy decision to make.”

Debogorski’s sisters Amelia and Shielo were at the sale, and his brother Dominic popped by to say hello as well. The sisters agreed the support from Trevor and the community has been very generous.

“Trevor was aware that there was a whole bunch of extra expenses,” Amelia said. “We’re going to look at potentially building another ramp to his girlfriend’s and child’s house and then retrofitting his house. Plus more money for medical treatment and equipment.”

Amelia said the family is looking for donations of medical equipment such as a stairlift as well as help from someone certified to install it.

For Andrew’s quality of life, Sheilo said daily massage and physiotherapy would make a world of difference for his mobility. He currently receives one hour per week through the health care system.

Once the stem cell trial in the United States begins it will involve air travel together with two caregivers. Amelia said the family is looking for airline buddy passes to ease the financial burden of traveling to and from the United States.

Kasteel said there will be another sale this season as he still has another seacan container full of construction supplies to get rid of.

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